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‘Fringe’ Producer Shares What Didn’t Work On Show

The disappearing Peter Bishop looked great on paper, but was not well-liked

With “Fringe” getting a chance to end creatively (and not as a business decision), showrunner Joel Wyman has a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the cult favorite. But that doesn’t mean he is in love with every minute of the series, which will end its run in January.

In fact, there is one big regret Wyman has: Pulling Peter Bishop out of existence.

“I learned a great deal from that,” Wyman recently told SFX magazine. “It didn’t work. People didn’t like it and felt it was sort of stupid and didn’t get it.”

At the end of the third season, Joshua Jackson’s popular character was erased from existence, which created yet another alternate reality for the Fringe crew. Peter was supposed to be completely erased by The Observers, but one renegade Observer decided to not do it, and Peter was ultimately re-integrated into the primary storyline.

“It didn’t work as well as we all thought it would,” Wyman said. “We liked it and thought it was cool. But no matter how many times we told people, ‘No, Peter is still part of the show,’ everybody was saying, ‘Peter is not on the show so I’m not watching anymore!’

“I look back at it and consider it one of our missteps.”

“Fringe” has remained a part of Fox’s schedule despite being one of the least-watched shows on major network television. That didn’t matter to Fox executives however, who were completely in love with the concept and the show, and wanted to prove that good science-fiction had a home on the network. Fox is still smarting from the quick cancellation of “Firefly” a decade ago, a program that has continued to endure despite having about a dozen episodes and a single movie that grossed less than $35 million at the box office.

Through the end of October, “Fringe” has averaged a 1.9 rating/3 share, according to Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. That’s down less than 8 percent from last year.

“Fringe” returns Dec. 7, and will end its run with a two-hour special on Jan. 18.

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